If you are approaching your driving test, then you should know the answer to the title of this article. Turning in the road requires slow speed control, quick steering and safe observation.
While no longer officially tested, the turning in the road manoeuvre is massively beneficial to any driver on the road and remains a crucial part of the driving syllabus.
When you find yourself stuck at a dead-end, you will know it was worth all of those practice hours. In this article, we look at one of the trickiest manoeuvres you will encounter on the learner driver syllabus.
Prepare, Observe, and Move
Before attempting any manoeuvre in a vehicle on the road, whether it’s on your test or as a qualified driver, it’s important to remember the driving routine Prepare, Observe, and Move (POM). This simple formula is vital to the safety of you and other road users.
In preparation for the manoeuvre, you need to check the vehicle is in readiness to move. You need to ensure your feet are in position and the car is prepared to manoeuvre. Observe the road, check your visibility and your mirrors thoroughly. Chances are there will be a vehicle waiting. Don’t panic! When everything is in place, then begin, safely.
Park on the Left
When this manoeuvre was taught on the driving test the examiner asked you to park on the left. This was to simulate a real-life scenario. Be prepared for your driving instructor to issue a similar instruction. Your instructor will want to test your ability to park safely using your interior mirror and your left mirror.
At this instruction, you should look ahead for a safe place to turn in, check your mirrors and then signal left. Pull into the left and stop. When stopped, apply the parking brake and select neutral. Your instructor will then brief you on the forthcoming manoeuvre.
They will ask you to turn the car around, make a turn in the road, or perform a three-point turn.
Steering to the Right
Before attempting the manoeuvre check your mirrors. Check your rear mirror, right mirror, and your right blind spot. You will not have to use your indicator for this manoeuvre as there must be no oncoming traffic for the manoeuvre to take place safely and also a signal suggests we are moving off down the road and not manoeuvering.
If there is a viable gap in which to begin the manoeuvre then you can begin your turn in the road. If not, patiently wait until the opportunity presents itself.
When you’re ready to turn in the road, let the parking brake off and use clutch control to move the car off slowly. You should be moving at a slow walking pace. As the car moves forward, turn the steering wheel as fast as possible to the right preferably until the wheel is full lock.
Continue across the road until the car is within one metre of the opposite kerb, then countersteer the steering wheel in the opposite direction to set yourself up for the reverse phase.
At this point in the manoeuvre, you will have the clutch pressed down and your foot on the brake. Now you need to find the clutch bite point again, use the handbrake if it makes it easier. Before moving the car again check up and down the road for any vehicles. If clear, check the rear windscreen and slowly move the car in reverse.
Whilst moving, quickly turn the steering wheel left until it locks. Continue to reverse.
You should be looking through the rear window but also checking the side windows for traffic.
Approximately halfway across the road look over your right shoulder to keep an eye on the approaching kerb. Guard against mounting the kerb. Once again, when you are one meter from the kerb turn the steering wheel to the right, depress the clutch and gently press the brake.
Slowly Move off
From this position, you need to apply the parking brake and select first gear. Find the clutch biting point. Before moving off, recheck the road to ensure it is clear to proceed.
Check at least twice. When you’re convinced it’s safe to move, release the parking brake and turn the steering wheel quickly to the right. Congratulations, you successfully performed the tricky turn in the road manoeuvre.
On average, driving instructors begin teaching manoeuvres after 10 hours of driving. It could be less if you’re a particularly competent driver.
The first manoeuvre taught is usually the turning on the road, it is one of the most tricky manoeuvres, perhaps only second to reverse parking. Your driving instructor will tell you when you are competent enough with the manoeuvre.